13 months ago

2019 Highlights of Hope: Fall/Winter

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  • Research
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  • Michigan
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EVENTS PURPLE COMMUNITY THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS EVENT SPONSORS To learn more about sponsoring an event, contact Sarah Rollman at Winterfest Aon Atwater Brewery GR B.D.’s BBQ Barnes & Thornburg LLP BDT & Company, LLC Calamos Investments Jerry & Suzanne Callahan Carnelian Energy Capital Cork Wine & Grille Cumulus Media Custer Inc. Deloitte Brian DeVries & Barbara Pugh Divani Emmanuel Hospice FastSigns Grand Rapids Christian Schools Jana Hall Harvey Automotive of Grand Rapids iHeartMedia, Inc. Macatawa Bank McShane & Bowie, P.L.C. Mercy Health MGD Technologies, Inc. Michael J. Murdock Oppenheimer & Co. Michigan State University — College of Human Medicine Nothing Bundt Cakes Matt & Beth Osterhaven Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. Perper Design Associates, Inc. Pioneer Construction PL Capital, LLC Reds at Thousand Oaks Robert Barcelona - Merrill Lynch Rockford Construction San Chez Bistro Dan Shapiro & Joe Mangini Slows Bar BQ Sobie Meats Suburban Landscapes Taconic Charitable Foundation The Chop House The Sharpe Collection Townsquare Media Trillium Investments US Signal Vintage Prime & Seafood Warner Norcross + Judd LLP 26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE West Michigan Woman Geoff & LeeAnne Widlak Women’s LifeStyle PC5K ACH + Hospitality, Hyatt Place, AC Hotels Marriott Advanced Family Chiropractic Center B-93 Classic Race Management Consumers Credit Union D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare & Forest Hills Foods DJ Grant Miller Eastern Floral Gazelle Sports Give ‘Em A Break Safety Groove City Events Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy Life EMS Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Mary Free Bed YMCA Meijer Mercy Health Metro Health Sports Medicine Michigan Paving & Materials Co. Nothing Bundt Cakes Priority Health Ron’s Beans The Peter & Joan Secchia Family Foundation Versiti Around the World Alliance Beverage Chad Bassett Belwith Products Crowe LLP Cumulus Media Brian DeVries & Barbara Pugh Divani Edward Jones Greenridge Realty, Inc. Gun Lake Investments iHeartMedia, Inc. John Hancock Retirement Plan Services Leigh’s Meijer Foundation Mercy Health Millennial Guru Mike & Rachel Mraz Lee & Alexandra Perez Renew Family Dental Reserve Wine & Food ROAM Rocket Science RoMan Manufacturing Inc. Thacker Sleight Waddell & Reed West Michigan Woman YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids PURPLE COMMUNITY 5K RACER BATTLES CANCER AND PARKINSON’S AND CROSSES THE FINISH LINE It was a rainy cold morning, and as Michelle Mahoney neared the end of the first mile of the Consumers Credit Union Purple Community 5K, she took a moment to gather herself and say a few, meaningful words that gave her strength. “When I finished that first mile I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” Mahoney said. “I just kept saying to myself, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’” Mahoney’s deep connection to her faith has helped her take on all of life’s challenges. In 2015 she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and in 2017, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Grounded by a strong and supportive family, Mahoney now approaches life step-by-step, day-by-day and moment-by-moment. “In Hebrews, it says there is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on, and I believe we also have witnesses cheering for us here on Earth — and that’s our family and friends who are there for us in difficult times,” she said. “I just know that I have to keep going forward, and hopefully I will inspire other people in the process.” Powerful steps make a difference Mahoney had never participated in an organized race before she decided to sign up for the PC5K. She was inspired to participate in the event after meeting Dr. Patrik Brundin, the Institute’s associate director of research and director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Science. “I became familiar with the Institute when Patrik came to speak to my Parkinson’s support group,” Mahoney said. “When I saw that the Institute was doing a 5K, I knew I wanted to support research that could make a difference in my life and the lives of other people who are fighting these diseases. What the Institute is doing matters to me in a very personal way.” As Mahoney was about to finish the race, her left leg began to collapse from fatigue, and she noticed a woman riding alongside her on a bicycle who was cheering her on. “The woman on the bike said that she was a breast cancer survivor and when I felt my leg give out she got off her bike and put her arm under my arm, and with my niece helping on the other side, we crossed the finish line together, and I just broke down in tears because I’d finished.” A great cloud of witnesses Throughout her fight, Mahoney is constantly moved by the emotional generosity and support from friends, family and from strangers she’s never met. These interactions have strengthened her resolve and motivated her to push through the most difficult days. “When I was having chemotherapy, which was a very hard thing to go through, I would go to the grocery store and people would come up behind me and ask ‘What’s your first name?’ and I would say ‘Michelle’ and they would say, ‘We’ll be praying for you,’” Mahoney said. “And that’s really what life is all about. We have people who come alongside us to help us finish our races, and it’s these experiences and connections that encourage us to keep going.” If you’re interested in supporting Van Andel Institute and joining Purple Community members like Michelle Mahoney, visit and discover how you can make a difference and support the Institute's cancer and neurodegenerative disease research. (TOP TO BOTTOM) MICHELLE MAHONEY EMBRACES A FELLOW PC5K PARTICIPANT; MICHELLE MAHONEY FINISHES THE RACE WITH A NEW FRIEND & HER NIECE VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 27

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